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Blind man hears, feels his way to mechanic degree

New Mexican Mechanic Doesn't Let Blindness Get in His Way

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A blind New Mexico man who recently earned an auto mechanics degree is looking for a job.

Clifford Alderson, 48, a graduate from a joint New Mexico State University-Dona Ana Community College program, earned his degree by listening and learning to feel his way around the vehicle, KOAT-TV reported.

Born with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that led to his blindness, Alderson got his on-the-job training at a small auto shop in Alamogordo and plans on making a career out of his talents.

His mother has the disease, as does his 15-year-old daughter, Lydia.

"When I graduated it didn't feel like I graduated. I felt like I was in a dream," said Alderson, who walks with a collapsible cane.

Damian Orchard, of All Makes Automotive, says, for the most part, he could just tell Alderson what needed to be done on a car and Alderson takes care of the rest.

"A good majority of (the repairs) I could turn Cliff loose, once I told him what we needed to do," Orchard said.

Orchard told the Albuquerque Journal that the repairs Alderson can tackle include brake jobs, shocks, water and power steering pumps, alternators, and changing hoses.

Joe Retana, a professor at the auto mechanics program, said Alderson is an enthusiastic person who never let any disability get in the way.

"He's very exciting and he's a go-getter," Retana said. "Nothing seems to stop him."

Alderson said he hopes he has inspired his daughter by graduating.

Alderson has not landed a full-time job but says he's optimistic.

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jmason7708 June 17 2014 at 6:45 PM

i went to high school with Tim a blind young man he was one hell of a mechanic ,he work for texaco lab and when they went away he repaired lawn mowers i always remember not seeing him for 4 or 5 yrs then running into him in a bar having a beer I said hello and he said John how the hell have you been ,
. give this guy a job he probably will out work most

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1 reply
vandemps jmason7708 June 18 2014 at 9:49 AM

Is this the same Tim? Dutchess County, NY area?

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rrj6648 June 17 2014 at 6:42 PM

Deaf are good mechanic too!!! Many Deaf own mechanic shop everywhere around the world even in India... So we already knew blind can do great job too... Nothing is Impossible for what you see is what you get!!! Those who can't is what reflects your own negative thoughts!!! And we see all kinds of Mankind are so remarkable in everything like music, jokes, artworks, handicrafts, language, culture, food, etc. So that is way so AWESOME...

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2 replies
Mandoist rrj6648 June 18 2014 at 7:42 AM

Are you deaf? Or is that you just like to use exclamation points?

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3 replies
ken_fink rrj6648 June 18 2014 at 11:14 AM

As I said in my post above, if one of the senses are lost, it only makes the others that much more perscise! Nice input rrj6648!!!!

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Sire June 18 2014 at 1:44 AM

I am sure most mechanics do so much repetition repairs that they dont even both to look half the time. Repair an engine takes as much as hearing and feel as it does sight. I'd hire this guy anyday.

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1 reply
coopdabomb Sire June 18 2014 at 6:08 AM

You have no idea what you're talking about. Are you a lib?

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1 reply
rodneydsharp coopdabomb June 18 2014 at 9:14 AM

You are an idiot! WTH does being a lib have to do w/anything he said?!?

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autounionbailout June 18 2014 at 1:43 AM


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joyhrw June 17 2014 at 11:45 PM

My son -in-law restored my 1990 Caddy and he is legally blind ...blind means sightless not unable...Hope this guy is employed soon.

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klhcmt June 18 2014 at 1:00 AM

Absolutely I would hire him. . I own a medical transcription service, and for the past five years or more, I have a a blind medical transcriptionist who transcribes op reports and other types of work. She does an awesome job. She surfs the internet doing research for terms, etc. She has been doing this type of work for over 20 years. She has a computer who talks to her and spells words for her. Whoever hires him will have a great employee.

KLH Medical Transcription Service

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wbearl June 18 2014 at 8:46 AM

We have a Community Organizer for a President, you can't get much blinder than that so yes. I realize first impressions are hard to ignore, but we should all rate a person only by the job they do.

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poorlee June 18 2014 at 12:09 AM

Read the book "One Man's Vision". It is about Ralph r. Teetor.He invented the cruise control, was the presodent of Perfect Circle Corporation, was a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame,and much, much more and was blind.

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johnzoboli June 18 2014 at 1:13 AM

There have been several blind mechanics working ay UAL/SFO shops for a long time. One worked in the accesory shop and another worked in the engine shop dissasembling JT8 diffuser case assemblys. Over seen by sited lead Mechanics and Inspectors.

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Mike June 18 2014 at 5:54 AM

I thought all auto mechanics were blind --- hence the saying I got my car fixed and was robbed blind...

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2 replies
Mandoist Mike June 18 2014 at 7:50 AM

Comedy is not your strong point...keep the day job, if you have one.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ken_fink Mike June 18 2014 at 11:21 AM

NOW, THAT'S FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!

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